As of 18 September 2017, the ACT Revenue Office will be introducing a new system for collecting stamp duty on property transactions. The new system has been designed to streamline and simplify the process of paying stamp duty.

Currently, when purchasing an established property (or vacant land) you are required to pay stamp duty prior to settlement or within 90 days from the date of the contract, whichever occurs first. When purchasing off the plan, stamp duty is due within 12 months from the date of the contract or 14 days after the Certificate of Occupancy & Use is issued. The Barrier Free model moves the point of payment to after settlement eliminating the barriers between exchange of contracts and settlement.

The new Barrier Free model appears to offer a simpler and faster method for paying stamp duty.

Figure: Current Model Conveyancing vs New Barrier Free Model1

When purchasing, you should pay close attention to the new timeframes set under the Barrier Free model. Once settlement occurs, you (or your bank and/or our office) will have 14 days to lodge settlement documents for registration. Once your documents are lodged, ACT Revenue will issue a Notice of Assessment requiring payment of stamp duty within 14 days. If payment is not made within 14 days or there is a delay in lodging settlement documents, you may be charged penalty fees.

If you require assistance tailored to your individual circumstances, please contact WMG Legal on 6253 9766 or office@wmglegal.com.au as we are more than happy to help.

1. https://www.revenue.act.gov.au/barrierfree